James McDonald is the 2019 recipient of the Donald W. Davis University Interdisciplinary Studies Award
James McDonald, Associate Professor of Physics and Associate Dean of Budget and Finance in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2019 recipient of the Donald W. Davis University Interdisciplinary Studies Award. The Davis Award recognizes effective interdisciplinary teaching, as well as overall contributions to the University Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum.
McDonald has been a central figure in the University Interdisciplinary Studies (UIS) program for a decade, reflecting a long-term commitment to the University’s interdisciplinary program as well as the idea of interdisciplinary education as an ideal. Since 2009, he has successfully co-taught one of the most popular interdisciplinary courses, Science in Art, which he developed with Hartford Art School colleague Jeremiah Patterson. In fall 2018, McDonald introduced a new UIS course, The Martian Way, which deals with issues associated with colonizing Mars, including technological obstacles and social barriers.
McDonald represented the College of Arts and Sciences on what was then the All-University Curriculum (AUC) Committee, and served on the AUC Steering Committee that extensively reviewed and then revised the interdisciplinary program into a re-invigorated UIS. He also represented the UIS program in the Association of American Colleges and Universities LEAP New England Initiative.
Caroline Woolard, Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Hartford Art School, is the 2019 recipient of the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize. The Ribicoff Prize recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member—an assistant professor in a tenure-track position, but not yet tenured—who demonstrates combined excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative activity, and service.
During her first year, Woolard taught six classes and developed a University Interdisciplinary Studies course. She facilitates dynamic learning strategies through teamwork, critical reflection, and capstone projects. Woolard also excels in advising, committee work, and mentorship. She goes out of her way to bring in speakers to connect learning objectives to “real-world” skills and professional practices in the arts. She also shares with her colleagues best practices on fostering classroom collaboration and self-reflection at faculty retreats and workshops.
A self-described “cultural producer whose interdisciplinary work facilitates social imagination at the intersection of art, technology, design, and political economy,” Woolard is a founding member of Trade School, OurGoods, BFAMFAPhD, and the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative. Her work has been commissioned by MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships and has been featured twice in Art21.
Eoin A. King, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture, is the 2019 recipient of the Belle K. Ribicoff Endowed Professorship. This rotating professorship recognizes outstanding teaching and is awarded every three years to one of the past three recipients of the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize.
King brought his passion for acoustical engineering and music to the University in 2013. Since then he has produced a book, six peer-reviewed journal articles, and 25 works at regional, national, and international conferences. He has been elected to the Board of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering USA and selected to join the European Commission’s Noise Expert Group and the International WELL Building Institute’s Sound Concept Advisory Panel. But King finds his greatest joy in the classroom, alongside students eager and ready to learn.
While King’s teaching is rooted in mechanical engineering, his research is multidisciplinary, with strong links to health, urban planning, and computer science. He brings his research into the classroom to teach his students to see mechanical engineering’s connections to many other disciplines. King’s efforts consistently earn excellent evaluations and his dedication to his students has made him a natural as University Honors coordinator for CETA.
In all his contributions to the University, King says, his goal is to prepare his students for lifelong learning.